Solero mugging.

Or as to how a tiny dot of a cat can pester, pester, pester until I give in to her needs because she’s managed at least two licks and starting to get very determined.  We’ve never owned a cat with a sweet tooth before, the other day she was mugging me for some fudge that son no.2 had made and sent to me, she ate three cat sized pieces and would have eaten much more.   solero 1 Solero 2 Solero 3 solero 4 solero 5 solero 6 solero 7 solero 9 solero 10



Reasons to be cheerful, continued.

My summer season of catch up continues and I started this day off with a visit to the Barbican Centre to see John Paul Gaultier’s magnificent exhibition From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.  The wonderful thing about the Barbican is that one can photograph without a flash, I came out of this exhibition, three and a half hours later with hundreds of photographs to keep.  I’ll share just a few.  The other amusing aspect of this show is that the manniquens have been staged to have their faces move and some speak.  The first time you see something move out of the corner of your eye, it makes you jump, its great fun and really well done.   If you do go to see this exhibition it is huge, do allow yourself plenty of time.

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I love the details.

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And when I saw this, I was a bit shocked, but on closer inspection,

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It is made entirely of

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beads.  Absolutely jaw dropping, how would this even be achievable?  How many hours did it take?  How many people?

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A knitted frock, beautiful.


Stunning, and such a gorgeous colour.

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And where would you even start to sew that together?

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I then trundled over to see Matisse Cutouts at Tate Modern.   They were so very interesting, such apparently simple ideas executed at a level of genius.

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On the way home one can’t help but notice the building work that one can see and hear (the clanking of steel girders)

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That appears everywhere in London. mudlarks 1

A few people playing at being mud larks. If I wasn’t so tired I might have joined them, it does look like the greatest of fun to try and find pieces of ancient pottery and glass. near southwark bridge

And these pillars intrigued me.   I found that they were from the first Blackfriars Railway bridge opened in 1864 and this is all that remain.  I think they are quite beautiful.

And so it was I wandered home.

Reasons to be cheerful, part 1.

I am just trying to catch up on a few exhibitions at the moment.  Trying to ram in as much culture along with a little light window shopping as time, energy, finances will allow.  And so it was I trundled to Charing Cross, just loving the wall paper.

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A few weeks ago I managed to see the Making Colour exhibition at the National Gallery.  It was lovely, it was everything I wanted it to be, I learnt more about the colour blue and its history than I ever thought possible, (and other colours too)  I found a new obsession to collect and I partook of a glorious cream tea in the National Dining Rooms who provided very generous servings of clotted cream and jam.

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And the best part was that I was lucky enough to secure a window seat, so I could watch the comings and goings of Trafalgar Square.   (although I think this photo might have been taken outside, but you get my drift)

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A quick selfie before heading home.

My next trip  was to see Radical Geometry : Modern Art of South America at the Royal Academy.  Oh how I loved this show, there was something about this show that appeals deeply to me and I loved the final piece by Carlos Cruz-Diez.  I observed this piece for a good half an hour, there was just so much to observe within it and it made the perfect companion to having seen the Making Colour exhibition just a short time earlier.   There are many write ups around the net of this exhibition but this piece of work is a must see, the detail is exquisite, I think it is five lines of different colours between red acrylic set out at an angle which is placed every centimeter or so.  The colours change as you walk along it.

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Physichromie No.500 1970. Casein paint on PVC and acrylic on plywood sheets.


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A quick look around Fortnum and Mason was required.  I love those oranges, I must brush off my manuals of how to make crystalised fruits.

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And the marzipan sweet meats are just so pretty.

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And who doesn’t want to bounce onto these wonderfully cushy marshmallows.

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The architecture is just so awe inspiring.

out 8And then I found wares by MacKenzie-Childs.  I would love to own some pieces, but unfortunately my bank manager disagrees.

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But it doesn’t stop me looking

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and admiring

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and gawping.

out 12There were some lovely bundt tins.

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And who would not love this copper pan in their kitchen, one might even cook with it.

And inspired by colour and fabrics, paint and pottery, I headed home, happy in my thoughts.

Draping on the Stand.

During my first year here at University I decided to take some extra classes about draping on the stand, it intrigues me and I want to make full use of any opportunities that come my way  through extra courses taught by tutors at the UAL that I have either the stamina to attend, as well as doing my course work and can afford.   This was a bit near the knuckle with regards to both finances and exhaustion levels, but oh so worth it.  When your taught by the experts, they work you hard and I used to come out of this class knowing I’d done it, but loving every single second of it, even if I was crying for mercy one notable afternoon.    This again is just a snap shot, it will give you a very quick idea of nine days work, of some, not all of the tops and skirts we attempted,  I’ve lost the dress on the computer, if I find it I’ll slot it in another post.             Drape 1

We start with learning the basics after an extremely detailed talk about draping and how it works in the industry, fabrics, house models and industrial sewers etc etc..  which was great stuff.

We drape a simple top,

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then transfer the block to paper and true it, after that one would make a pattern from the paper block and then test the block by making a full garment, the first Toile one might say.

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We can see the back of this simple top.

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This is another top and here we are learning how to gather pleats, and then how to transfer that information to paper and repeat the process as above.

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Draping a skirt, and how to add volume into the folds.

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And that skirt can then become a beautiful ball gown made of the most delicious of fabrics.

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And every ball gown needs a bodice.  So we start the long process of learning how to drape a bodice onto the stand.

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Getting a shape I like.

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And making sure the bodice is as tight as it can be.  This is what defy’s gravity when a person is walking in a ball gown.

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Then we true the work, we make a block, from that we make a pattern, we then toile the work and then pinch away any excess to make the bodice as skin tight as possible and then after altering the pattern and toile, we insert boning into the bodice.

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And you can see at this point how tight it is and what structure it has.

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From that we can start draping onto the bodice.   And this, eventually becomes

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This.  We are only working on half of it, its just to give one a sense of how things are done, we are not looking for a finished garment here, thoughts are needed at this stage as to how the person is going to get in and out of the garment, zips, hook and eyes, laced.  Its all in the eye of the designer.

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And again this would be transfered to make a paper block, then a pattern and then it would be toiled from the pattern to test it.  And that stage will happen as many times as necessary before being tried on the house fit model and making final decisions with regard to your collection.   There are certain aspects one would never trim until being tried on a house model, the top of the bust for instance, that will definitely move in a different way to a mannequin and to trim it now could prove a disaster.

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And there are ways to even up your folds, which can be done mathematically and put into the pattern.

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We had a little fun with a cowl neck.  Cowl necks can be very attractive.

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And make a simple statement with a beautiful fabric.

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And even though I can see the errors, this photograph reminds me to keep the front flat across the tummy, not many women want folds of excess fabric that low down.

And then my real work stopped play and I had to abandon my play, but there are steps in place so that I can finish the final day of the course, thanks to my wonderful tutor.


I don’t normally write about my results.  My family (as I like to call them) on facebook know all about the trails and tribulations that I have faced this year and the hard work, blood, sweat and real tears that have stained my cheeks on more than one occasion.   Its hard being the only fat, bald, old kid in the class and there have been times where it has been very lonely.  But I’ve had some great people giving me some real, constructive support, who have taken the time to think of and type out reams of ideas and support to nurture my emotional vulnerable state of mind.  I just want to thank them, their support was so valuable to me, my family on facebook, I know I put you through the mill, but you really came through for me.  Thank you.

And also, I’d also like to thank Hubby and our boys, without which I wouldn’t be here today.  Thank you my beautiful boys, I know I am a grumpy old cow, but I love you all very much.

And last but by no means least thank you to my Mum and Dad, they don’t always completely understand my mid life crisis, but they are rooting for me and are deeply proud.

Ratification came in a few weeks ago for the last term and I know I haven’t said anything online as to my results, mainly because of my council kid mentality combined with keeping your head down and a substantial measure of embarrassment ?!   I am not sure what it is, but I know I don’t want it to feel like I am coming across as a gloat.   But do you know what I am going to do, I am going to share.  The first two terms were a combination of me coming joint second or joint third in the class and my results were a combination of  B’s and B+s, so I was thinking maybe I will come third this last term.  When the results came through they blew me away, joint First.  YaY.  *bounces*   Unfortunately the results aren’t carried over to next year, and I know that ideas can elude you and it can all go pear shaped extremely quickly, but its still a great feeling.

And then Mum and Dad sent me this, which sums it up perfectly and made me leak. card 1

It has been an amazing journey, I’m looking forward to next year.

Homeward Bound.

A few weeks ago, shortly after finishing, but after having had enough days to recover, I came home for a couple of days to see my family.   Hubby and I had organised it so that we did a house swop, so as to give him access to the house with son no. 2 to do a couple of jobs and also to look after Toile.  As at that point she was not completely vaccinated and still too small for the train trip home.     Going home 1

Although I think she had other ideas and wanted to become the traveling cat we hope she will one day become.

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This was the weekend of the annual carnival, it was a sweet memory to see the children enjoying themselves. carnival 2The floats were a riot of colour combined with carnival fun, as one would expect from my home town.  My town may be small, compared to our larger neighbours, but we do the  best carnival for miles around. carnival 3It was great to see son no.1, handsome as ever.  And Mum and Dad, Aunties, Uncles, cousins and second cousins and third cousins. And I spent the most delightful evening cuddling our newest member of our family, a nine week old baby girl, (my third cousin!)  I could still smell her baby smell in the morning where she had snuggled so tightly against me the previous evening and I remembered cuddling her Mum when she was the same age.   But after a couple of days socialising and catching up, it was time to head home, to complete the house swop. returningAnd sure enough, I had one very eager furry person waiting to see me, who literally leapt into my arms and hugged me like the ball of fluff baby she is, purring loudly all the time.  Don’t worry Toile, you’ll be coming home with me next time to meet the other hairy members of the our family and thats not just son no.1   Toile communing with me in the morning sun, very happy to see me home.